Preparation drill causes stir among faculty and students

Glendora Police Department conducting a building sweep in Technician Development building during an active shooter scenario in fall of 2012. The exercise conducted exclusively by Glendora P.D., trains officers for a school shooter scenario on a school campus.(File photo/Clarion)

Preparation for the all-campus emergency preparedness drill scheduled for tomorrow has been in the works for months. Scheduled to take place between 8 a.m. and noon, the event will mark the second lockdown/shelter and place drill simulated on campus.

The exercise will not include firing of blanks as part of the drill, according to an all-campus email sent on March 11 by Arvid Spor, Ed.D, vice president of academic affairs and interim vice president of student services.

Officials from the office of campus safety, Glendora Police Department and the Citrus College Emergency Operations Center planning committee plan emergency drills throughout the year. These drills are meant to help ensure the entire Citrus community is informed and aware of campus policies and procedures that are in place.

“This drill requires everyone inside of a building to lock their doors, turn out the lights (if possible), and shelter in place until given the all clear sign,” Spor said in an email.

Ben Macias, supervisor of campus safety elaborated on how these drills allow Glendora P.D. officers to collaborate on effective safety execution.

“These drills help them understand our campus and make sure they know where to go.” Macias said. “Our department has been working directly with them the last five years.

The relationship between campus safety and Glendora P.D. is not a requirement according to Macias, but the campus chooses to work in conjunction through a campus liaison.

“[Campus shootings] are a very real thing that has happened on multiple campuses. Citrus College just wants to make sure that we’re as prepared as possible.”
-James Lancaster, Ed.D, Dean of curriculum, career, technical and continuing education

Controversy over a simulated shooter scenario did occur the week before the drill was to take place.

Details were discussed March 9 in a Steering Committee meeting attended by Paul Swatzel, Citrus College Faculty Association president.

“Dr. Spor made the statement that there would be a Glendora P.D. officer dressed as a student firing blanks,” Swatzel said.

According to Swatzel, Spor did not specify when or where this part of the lockdown drill would take place.

Swatzel said that Spor would be sending a campus-wide email about the event. Once that email was sent, Swatzel was told he could send his own email regarding the drill.

However, the vice president’s email did not mention the use of blanks by a Glendora P.D. officer. Swatzel then proceeded to send out an email outlining the additional scenario details discussed at the Steering Committee.

“Someone could have really gotten hurt if they were not informed. I am trying to keep people as well informed as possible.”

On March 11, Spor informed faculty and staff by email that the lockdown drill will continue as planned but would not include an undercover officer posing as an active shooter.

According to Spor, the idea of the undercover officer was a “potential scenario” but had not had a chance to confer with the school’s president, Geraldine M. Perri, Ph.D, superintendent/president.

“We agreed that the college community was not ready for such a scenario. I informed the Planning Team the next day that we would not proceed with that option.”

James Lancaster, Ed.D, dean of curriculum, career, technical and continuing education, who serves as the planning coordinator for the EOC on campus reiterated the college’s goal of being prepared for worse-case scenarios.

“We wanted to make sure that we’re prepared for emergencies,” Lancaster said. “This is a very real thing that has happened on multiple campuses. Citrus College just wants to make sure that we’re as prepared as possible.”


Campus Safety officer Jared Ward checks classroom 204 of the Liberal Arts/Business building on Sept. 22, 2011 during a the campus’ first lockdown/shelter and place drill. (File photo/Clarion)

According to Lancaster, the EOC reads through an emergency scenario every spring semester as a way to practice procedure and keep the various departments within the EOC in constant communication.

Emergency planning firm West Coast Consulting Group, comprised of former police, fire fighting and various emergency response units, work with the EOC. According to Lancaster, WCCG made the initial suggestion to try a real life emergency scenario in place of the tabletop read-through. WCCG was not available for comment.

Citrus has run through “active shooter” exercises while classes have been in session in the past. On Sept. 22, 2011 a 20-minute lockdown drill was staged that focused on five buildings on campus. The result of the drill found 973 “potential victims” as a result of insecure classrooms.

In preparation for tomorrow’s drill, campus officials encourage all staff, faculty and students to review emergency response materials located on the Campus Safety page on the Citrus College website. Information has been updated on the site to make is accessible to all users on all devices.

“Campus Safety is not just one department, it is a collective effort, Macias said. “It requires a lot of peoples’ in put to pull off a drill like this.”